Family members and friends were always hard-pressed to find something — anything — that Mark Fleischhacker couldn’t fix.
Sure, the medical technology executive helped lead Chaska-based Lake Region Medical, a multimillion-dollar company with close to 2,000 employees, before retiring three years ago.
But he was just as content repairing the boiler or the outdoor sprinkler system at St. Therese Catholic Church in Deephaven, where he was a lifelong member.
“One of his proudest moments was restoring the church’s tabernacle,” said Mary Dana Hinton, president of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, at a mass celebrating Fleischhacker’s life earlier this month.
Fleischhacker, of Minnetonka, died unexpectedly from a health issue July 27. He was 66.
A knack for tinkering ran in the Fleischhacker family. Lake Region was founded in the family’s chicken coop by Fleischhacker’s father, Joseph Sr., and a few pals, originally as a fishing lure operation.
Ultimately, they began manufacturing coils that were used with the first implantable pacemakers — developed by Medtronic Inc. co-founder Earl Bakken.
Family-run Lake Region became an important part of the Twin Cities’ growing med-tech community from the 1960s on and was ultimately sold in 2015 to what is now Integer Holdings Corp. for $1.7 billion. Fleischhacker’s brother John had left to found Daig Corp., which was later sold to St. Jude Medical Inc.
Early on, the Fleischhacker kids would head to the backyard shop after finishing their homework to help with the family business. “Mark was kind of a natural at it,” said his sister, Kate Roehl of Maple Plain. “He just figured out how things worked.”
A man of quiet fortitude, Fleischhacker was never one to brag.
“We have lost a gentle man,” said family friend Jane Shanard of Minnetonka. “Mark was a thoughtful, kind and unassuming man loved by employees” at Lake Region.
But at the same time, Roehl said, “Even though he was serious, he had a very dry sense of humor as an adult. Every now or then he’d get you with a zinger.”
Fleischhacker and his wife of 38 years, Teresa, belonged to a Ford Model T club, traveling about the country in their vintage coupe. Fleischhacker restored his first Model T while still in high school.
In retirement, he bought a company called Total Re-Coil, which restores magnetos, a key part for the vintage automobile. The new business is located in the same backyard garage where Lake Region was founded.
Fleischhacker was a member of the Air National Guard from 1972 to 1978. While he was on leave, “we’d see each other in the back of the church in the gathering area after mass,” his wife said. The couple married in 1980.
Fleischhacker was involved in Crescent Cove, a hospice organization for children. He also served on the boards of trustees for St. Ben’s and Dunwoody College of Technology and sat on committees for the St. Therese church and school.
“Mark was a very humble guy, he never showed off about anything,” said his brother, Joseph, of Mound. “He was volunteering his time and talents everywhere.”
More than 1,500 people stopped by Fleischhacker’s wake. Fittingly, 15 Model Ts joined the funeral procession to Resurrection Cemetery in Shorewood.
In addition to his wife, brothers and sister, Fleischhacker is survived by daughters Katherine Herzig of Boston and Maria Fleischhacker of Falcon Heights; son John Fleischhacker of Minnetonka; and many nieces and nephews.